Turkey hosted Muslim Brotherhood, Quds Force meeting in 2014 - The Intercept

Turkey hosted a 2014 meeting bringing together Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, two groups united by their common enemy, Saudi Arabia, the Intercept reported on Monday.

The meeting between the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, representing the world’s most powerful Shia-dominated nation, and the Muslim Brotherhood, an influential political and religious force in the Sunni Muslim world, was an effort to work together after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi was removed from power in 2013, the Intercept said citing a leaked archive of Iranian intelligence reports.

Former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mursi was ousted in a military coup led by the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Many Muslim Brotherhood leaders then fled Egypt and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has provided them a safe haven. Mursi died in June after six years in jail.

The Intercept, an online news publication supported by a company owned by eBay’s billionaire founder Pierre Omidyar, said the 2014 meeting came at critical moment for both the Quds Force and the Brotherhood, pointing to Islamic State’s (ISIS) increasing power in Sunni-dominated part of Iraq, which prompted Iran to deploy Iraqi Shia proxy militias.

Meanwhile, Mursi’s overthrow may have prompted the Muslim Brotherhood to attempt to form an alliance with Iran, the Intercept said.

Turkey was considered a safe location for the meeting as one of the few countries on good terms with both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, the article said. But, it said, that Turkey, worried about appearances, refused to grant a visa to the highly visible chief of the Quds Force, General Qassem Suleimani.

One of Suleimani’s deputies, a man identified in the cable as Abu Hussain, attended the meeting in his place, it said. 

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented by three of its most prominent leaders in exile - Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary and Youssef Moustafa Nada, the document said. 

Nada denied attending the meeting, while Mustafa and El-Abiary could not be reached for comment, the Intercept said.

The Iranian intelligence reports reveal a proposal for the two sides to join forces against the Saudis, suggesting Yemen as a location where the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government were gearing up for war.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Intercept quoted the Brotherhood delegation as saying.

The Brotherhood recognised there were limits to regional cooperation with the Quds Force, according to the cable, stating: “Of course, the issue of Syria currently is out of the hands of Iran and the Brotherhood, and there is nothing particular to be done about it.” 

Overall, the summit was a failure as the Brotherhood sensed their Iranian counterparts were not really interested in forming an alliance following a series of remarks from the delegation, the Intercept said. 

An Iranian agent at the meeting said he was willing to travel to Turkey or Beirut to attend any follow-up meetings, but it is not clear from the leaked archive whether further meetings took place, the article said.